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Shellfish is a colloquial and term for -bearing used as , including various species of , , and . Although most kinds of shellfish are harvested from environments, some are found in . In addition, a few species of are eaten, for example Cardisoma guanhumi in the . Shellfish are among the most common .

Despite the name, shellfish are not . Most shellfish are on the and eat a diet composed primarily of and . Many varieties of shellfish, and in particular, are actually closely related to and ; crustaceans make up one of the main of the phylum . include (squids, octopuses, cuttlefish) and (clams, oysters), as well as (aquatic species such as and winkles; land species such as snails and slugs).

Molluscs used as a food source by humans include many of , mussels, , winkles, and . Some crustaceans that are commonly eaten are shrimp, , crayfish, and . are not as frequently harvested for food as molluscs and crustaceans; however, sea urchin are quite popular in many parts of the world, where the live delicacy is harder to transport.

Though some shellfish harvesting has been unsustainable, and has been destructive in some parts of the world, shellfish farming can be important to environmental restoration, by developing reefs, filtering water and eating biomass.


Terminology
]]The term "shellfish" is used both broadly and specifically. In common parlance, as in "having shellfish for dinner", it can refer to anything from clams and oysters to lobster and shrimp. For regulatory purposes it is often narrowly defined as filter-feeding such as clams, mussels, and oyster to the exclusion of and all else. Maryland Shellfish Harvesting Areas , Maryland Department of the Environment

Although the term is primarily applied to marine species, edible invertebrates such as and river are also sometimes grouped under the umbrella term "shellfish".

Although their shells may differ, all shellfish are invertebrates. As non-mammalian animals that spend their entire lives in water they are "fish" in an informal sense; however, the term ”finfish" is sometimes used to distinguish , animals defined by having , from shellfish in modern terminology.

The word "shellfish" is both singular and plural; the rarely used "shellfishes" is sometimes employed to distinguish among various types of shellfish.

(1999). 9781900289221, Shaun Tyas.


Shellfish in various cuisines
Archaeological finds have shown that humans have been making use of shellfish as a food item for hundreds of thousands of years. In the present, shellfish dishes are a feature of almost all the of the world, providing an important source of protein in many cuisines around the world, especially in the countries with coastal areas.


In Japan
In , chefs often use shellfish and their in different dishes. (vinegared rice, topped with other ingredients, including shellfish, fish, meat and vegetables) features both raw and cooked shellfish. primarily consists of very fresh raw seafood, sliced into thin pieces. Both sushi and sashimi are served with soy sauce and paste (a Japanese root, a spice with extremely strong, hot flavor), thinly sliced pickled ginger root, and a simple garnish such as (a kitchen herb, member of the family) or finely shredded daikon radish, or both.


In the United States
in particular is a great delicacy in the , where families in the Northeast region make them into the centerpiece of a clam bake, usually for special occasions. Lobsters are eaten on much of the East Coast; the ranges from Newfoundland down to about the , but is most often associated with . A typical meal involves boiling the lobster with some slight seasoning and then serving it with drawn butter, , and corn on the cob.

is done both commercially and recreationally along the Northeast coastline of the US. Various type of clams are incorporated into the cuisine of New England. The soft-shelled clam is eaten either or steamed (and then called ""). Many types of clams can be used for , but the , a hard shelled clam also known as a chowder clam, is often used because the long cooking time softens its tougher meat.

The and region has generally been associated more with crabs, but in recent years the area has been trying to reduce its catch of blue crabs, as wild populations have been depleted. This has not, however, stemmed the demand: Maryland-style are still a well known treat in crabhouses all over the bay, though the catch now comes from points farther south.

In the Southeast, and particularly the gulf states, is an important industry. Copious amounts of shrimp are harvested each year in the Gulf of Mexico and the to satisfy a national demand for shrimp. Locally, prawns and shrimp are often deep fried; in the Cajun and Creole kitchens of , shrimp and prawns are a common addition to traditional recipes like and certain stews. Crawfish are a well known and much eaten delicacy there, often boiled in huge pots and heavily spiced.

In many major cities with active fishing ports, raw oyster bars are also a feature of shellfish consumption. When served freshly shucked (opened) and iced, one may find a liquid inside the shell, called the liquor. Some believe that oysters have the properties of an .

Inter-tidal herbivorous shellfish such as mussels and clams can help people reach a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats in their diets, instead of the current . For this reason, the eating of shellfish is often encouraged by dietitians.

Some popular dishes using shellfish:


Religious dietary restrictions
The forbids the consumption of shellfish (i.e. the only permitted seafood is fish with fins and scales), in the books of and . Jews (of all religious traditions) who fully observe the dietary laws thus do not eat shellfish, neither do Seventh-day Adventists, who also follow Jewish dietary law.

schools of thought vary on whether (and which types of) shellfish may be acceptable. view them as .


Allergy
Approximately 1% of the population is estimated to suffer from shellfish allergy, which is more common in teenage and adult life than very early childhood.


Toxic content
Some shellfish, such as , contain . A sample of whelk was found to have a total content of arsenic at of which 1% is inorganic arsenic.

Shellfish caught in can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). PSP is caused by toxins namely Saxitoxins released by , a type of protista (also considered algae), which are extremely poisonous (1000 times more potent than cyanide) and can lead to death by paralyzing the breathing muscles. Due to warming oceans, algae blooms have become more widespread, thereby increasing the likelihood of intoxications of various types.


Ecosystem services and reef-building
Shellfish of various kinds contribute to the formation of , such as when millions of oysters or mussels aggregate together. Reefs provide habitat for numerous other species, bury carbon, contributing to climate change mitigation, and defend the shore against erosion, floods and waves. Conversely, when they are destroyed or exploited, carbon can be released into the atmosphere, simultaneously increasing the likelihood of severe weather while removing the natural defence against its consequences. In addition, some shellfish are known for filtering water, removing suspended particles and contaminants, which contributes to both quality and clarity. These benefits cascade to other species that are helpful to humankind such as seagrasses.


See also


Sources


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